Wednesday, February 2, 2011

M.I.K.E.'s Classic Trance Anthems (Album Review)

Although it's been out for a little bit (released on Jan 21st), I felt the need to do a review of veteran Belgian trance producer M.I.K.E.'s newest compilation Classic Trance Anthems.  Why you ask?  Well first of all, because I've been a fan of M.I.K.E. (real name Mike Dierickx) ever since I heard "Voices From The Inside" some years ago when I was on my trance discovery.  2nd of all, because I always love opportunities like this compilation to brush up on my trance history.  Compilations like this come out all the time if you check iTunes and Beatport (and usually leave much to be desired), however, hand picked gems from one of the biggest names of the genre rarely comes along.  I had to check it out; and check it out I did! 

From start to finish you automatically travel back in time to the earlier days of trance music and when it still had roots in a more techno/less housey environment (just take a listen to the very techno heavy "Bedlam" by Haak).  Many of the tracks, like the opening track "Love Song" by Ofra Haza and Andy Moor's vintage gem "Halcyon", have a slowed down and almost more minimalist vibe.  Sure enough, the more you listen to the album, the more realize how trance music is diverse in its style.  I actually enjoyed how the album sort of cycled back and forth between slower and faster bpm.  Even though all trance, very different tracks on this compilation.  "Take The Day As It Comes" by Active Sight is one of the throwbacks I would definitely use to educate a newcomer to what the genre is all about and where it comes from.  A track like Pulser's "My Religion" is also a great education on the blueprint that is used in today's uplifting trance.  Let's also not forget, the track that made me a fan of M.I.K.E. those years ago: "Voices From The Inside".

All in all, I feel it is a really well put together compilation that had a great mixdown to make it all feel part of a journey through trance.  And what a journey!  It really shows how much trance has evolved over the years and how the trance of today is very different than what it used to be.  All music has to evolve though, and I think so far it's in great shape.  My only small gripe about this album? should probably be called Classic M.I.K.E. Trance Anthems, seeing as how the man has lent his talents to almost half of the tracks on this album.  Would have liked to see some other old tracks on here, however, it is not my showcase, it's M.I.K.E.'s.  A great showcase to show where the music has come from, and looking back into the roots can also yield some keys to the future of the genre.  Thanks M.I.K.E!  Cheers on a hit!

Review: (****) 4/5 stars

This compilation is out NOW on Armada Records:

Oh yeah...and before I forget.  To all you trance lovers in and around San Francisco:  M.I.K.E. will be in town this Saturday (Feb. 5th) at Club 525 at 525 Howard St. in the city.  Anybody who loves old trance should be sure to check it out!

One Love to the trance lovers!


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